1st Edition

Can Neighbourhoods Save the City? Community Development and Social Innovation

    264 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    For decades, neighbourhoods been pivotal sites of social, economic and political exclusion processes, and civil society initiatives, attempting bottom-up strategies of re-development and regeneration. In many cases these efforts resulted in the creation of socially innovative organizations, seeking to satisfy the basic human needs of deprived population groups, to increase their political capabilities and to improve social interaction both internally and between the local communities, the wider urban society and political world.

    SINGOCOM - Social INnovation GOvernance and COMmunity building – is the acronym of the EU-funded project on which this book is based. Sixteen case studies of socially-innovative initiatives at the neighbourhood level were carried out in nine European cities, of which ten are analysed in depth and presented here. The book compares these efforts and their results, and shows how grass-roots initiatives, alternative local movements and self-organizing urban collectives are reshaping the urban scene in dynamic, creative, innovative and empowering ways. It argues that such grass-roots initiatives are vital for generating a socially cohesive urban condition that exists alongside the official state-organized forms of urban governance.

    The book is thus a major contribution to socio-political literature, as it seeks to overcome the duality between community-development studies and strategies, and the solidarity-based making of a diverse society based upon the recognising and maintaining of citizenship rights. It will be of particular interest to both students and researchers in the fields of urban studies, social geography and political science.


    1. Social Innovation and Community Development: Concepts and Theories  2. Historical Roots of Social Change: Philosophies and Movements  3. ALMOLIN: How to Analyse Social Innovation at the Local Level  4. Kommunales Forum Wedding – Innovation in Local Governance in Berlin  5. Arts Factory, Rhondda Cynon Taff, South Wales  6. Social Exclusion/Inclusion and Innovation in the Neighbourhood of Epeule (Roubaix). The Case of the Association Alentour  7. The End of Social Innovation in Urban Development Strategies? Neighbourhood Development Corporations in Antwerp  8. How do you Build a Shared Interest? Olinda - a Case of Social Innovation Between Strategy and Organizational Learning in Milano  9. Centro Sociale Leoncavallo - Milan - Italy. A building-block for an Enlarged Citizenship in Milan  10. Associazione Quartieri Spagnoli (AQS) - Naples  11. New Deal for Communities in Newcastle  12. The Ouseburn Valley. A Struggle to Innovate in the Context of a Weak Local State  13. The Contradictions of Controlled Modernisation: Local Area Management in Vienna  14. Self-determined Urban Interventions as Tools for Social Innovation: The Case of City Mine(d) in Brussels  15. Creative Designing the Urban Future: Building on Experiences - A Transversal Analysis of Socially Innovative Case-Studies  16. Socially Innovative Projects, Governance Dynamics and Urban Change: A Policy Framework


    Frank Moulaert is Professor of Spatial Planning at the University of Leuven, Belgium, and Visiting Professor at Newcastle University (Planning Department) and MESHE (CNRS, Lille, France).

    Flavia Martinelli is professor of Analysis of territorial systems at the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Italy. She works on the dynamics of socioeconomic development and disparities – at the local, regional, international scale – and on actions to govern territorial transformations and support the development of depressed areas. 

    Sara Gonzalez is Lecturer in Human Critical Geography at the School of Geography, University of Leeds and the Spanish editor of ACME. Her research focuses on issues around urban political economy, territorial governance and uneven development particularly in European cities.

    Erik Swyngedouw is Professor of Geography at Manchester University. He has published extensively on urban political economy and urban political ecology, urban governance, and socio-spatial theory.